Russia hits back by expelling 23 British diplomats

Further measures threatened amid fallout from Salisbury nerve agent attack

Moscow said it was ordering the closure of the British Council in Russia and ending an agreement to reopen the British consulate in St Petersburg. Photograph: Getty

Moscow said it was ordering the closure of the British Council in Russia and ending an agreement to reopen the British consulate in St Petersburg. Photograph: Getty

 

Russia’s government is expelling 23 British diplomats and threatened further measures in retaliation in a growing diplomatic dispute over a nerve agent attack on a former spy in Britain.

The Russian Foreign Ministry said in a statement that it is also ordering the closure of the British Council in Russia and ending an agreement to reopen the British consulate in St Petersburg.

It ordered the diplomats to leave within a week.

The statement said the government could take further measures if Britain takes any more “unfriendly” moves toward Russia.

British prime minister Theresa May this week expelled 23 Russian diplomats and severed high-level contacts over the poisoning of ex-spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia.

They remain in critical condition in hospital. – AP